Peanuts make tasty, protein-filled snacks that help keep you feeling fuller for longer. But can they make you gain weight?
Peanuts can make you gain weight as they are high in fat. Only one serving size (30 peanuts) forms 69% of the daily fat one should consume when trying to lose weight. If you severely limit your fat intake for the rest of the day, however, peanuts won’t make you gain weight.
In this article, I’ll discuss how fattening peanuts are and if they are healthy. I’ll also explain if you can eat peanuts if you’re trying to lose weight.
Are Peanuts Fattening?
If you enjoy snacking on peanuts, you may wonder if they can make you gain weight. So, how fattening is one serving size of peanuts?
Peanuts are fattening because one serving size (28 g / 1 oz) contains about 160 calories, 13.8 g of fat, and 4.5 g (0.15 oz) of carbohydrates. To lose weight, you should eat 20 g (0.7 oz) or less of fat per day, and one snack-sized portion of peanuts already has 69% of your daily fat requirement.
Your daily calorie consumption for weight loss should be your goal weight multiplied by 10. So, if your goal weight is 110lb (50kg), the total calories you consume daily should not exceed 1100.
Therefore, one serving of peanuts would be almost 15% of your daily calories for weight loss. Although peanuts are satisfying, some people would prefer a lower-calorie snack so that they can eat more for the rest of the day.
Your daily carb intake for weight loss should be 100 g (3.52 oz) or less, and one serving of peanuts forms only 4.5% of this figure. However, a third of carbohydrates in peanuts is fiber, which promotes a feeling of fullness in the stomach and can prevent further snacking.
Peanuts are also rich in high-quality protein, which can keep hunger pangs at bay and provide energy.
Therefore, if you eat one serving (about 30 peanuts) a day as a snack and limit your fat intake to 6.2 g (0.21 oz) or less for the rest of the day, peanuts wouldn’t make you gain weight. This is, however, quite difficult to achieve if you consider the fat content in some common foods folks typically eat when they’re trying to lose weight:
- One cup (250 ml / 8.45 fl oz) of low-fat yogurt: 3.8 g (0.13 oz)
- One egg: 5 g (0.17 oz)
- One serving of skinless chicken breast: 3 g (0.1 oz)
- One cup (250 ml / 8.45 fl oz) bran flakes: 3.5 g (0.12 oz)
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid peanuts unless the rest of the food you eat is very low in fat.
Are Peanuts Healthy?
We’ve learned that peanuts are high in fat and can make you gain weight if you don’t strictly monitor your fat intake for the rest day. But are they healthy?
Peanuts are healthy because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats). If you eat them plain or lightly salted, they can help form part of a balanced diet.
Although consuming excess fat leads to weight gain, the body needs a small amount of fat daily for its vital processes. It’s recommended that you eat 0.2 to 0.5 g (0.007 to 0.017 oz) of fat for each pound (0.45 kg) of your body weight to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency.
The American Heart Association also advocates eating moderate portions of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as they help lower cholesterol levels and prevent the risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
One serving of peanuts contains 6.9 g (0.24 oz) of monounsaturated fat and 4.4 g (0.15 oz) of polyunsaturated fat. The daily recommended amounts are 44 g (1.55 oz) and 22 g (0.77 oz), respectively, demonstrating that one serving of peanuts daily can help you reach your healthy fat intake goal.
Saturated fats should be consumed with caution as they can raise your cholesterol levels. One serving of peanuts contains 1.8 g (0.06 oz) of saturated fat out of the daily recommended limit of 15 g (0.52 oz).
Peanut protein is high quality and plant-based, making peanuts an excellent way for vegans and vegetarians to consume sufficient protein. Peanuts are a fantastic alternative if you don’t like protein bars or shakes and need a convenient snack while hiking.
Peanuts also contain small amounts of the following essential vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- Vitamin E
Only small amounts of these are found in peanuts. However, if you eat peanuts as part of a well-balanced diet, they contribute to your recommended daily vitamin and mineral intake.
Can I Eat Peanuts if I’m on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet?
Peanuts are a popular high-fat and protein-rich food source. But what if you’re on a low-carb or ketogenic diet – can you eat them?
You can eat peanuts if you are on a low-carb diet because one serving contains only 4.5 g (0.15 oz) of carbs. Peanuts are also rich in protein and healthy fats, essential in a ketogenic diet which makes your body efficient at burning fat.
When on a keto diet, your goal is to reach ketosis by restricting carb intake. If the body cannot draw on its carbohydrate reserves for energy, it starts burning fat instead. As long as you limit the number of peanuts you eat, you won’t consume too many carbs, and your body will benefit from the other nutrients.
Low-carb diets are similar to keto diets as they encourage the body to burn its fat reserves for fuel. However, on a low-carb diet, you can eat slightly more carbohydrates, making peanuts an excellent snack choice.
Peanuts can make you gain weight if you don’t monitor your portion size and your fat intake for the rest of the day as they’re a high-fat food. Luckily, their fat content consists primarily of mono and polyunsaturated fats,which help keep your cholesterol levels under control.
However, peanuts are rich in protein and fiber, making them a satisfying snack that can keep your stomach feeling fuller for longer. If you’re on a ketogenic or low-carb diet, you can safely eat peanuts as long as you keep your portion sizes small.